Cosby Accuser Sues for Defamation after Cosby Refutes Her Allegations
When It All Began…
Unless you’ve been hibernating under a rock, you know by now that new life has been breathed into the decade-old rape allegations against legendary comedian and actor, Bill Cosby. It all started in 2005, when a woman named Andrea Constand accused Cosby of drugging and inappropriately touching her after Cosby had become a mentor to her at Temple University. Constand was the Director of Operations for the Women’s Basketball Team at Temple, and she later filed a civil suit against Cosby. The civil suit was subsequently dismissed for lack of evidence – thus, criminal charges were never brought against Cosby. Thirteen women claimed to have similar experiences with Cosby, and are referred to in court documents as “Jane Doe witnesses.” As the civil suit commenced, Constand then sued Cosby and the National Enquirer for defamation after Cosby did an interview with the tabloid. In November of 2006, Cosby settled with Constand for an undisclosed amount.
New Life to Old Accusations: Judy Huth
They say that history repeats itself, and in Cosby’s case, this phrase rings hauntingly true. Just this month, a woman named Judy Huth claimed that Cosby molested her during the 70’s, when she was only fifteen years old. This is the first time that any of the accusers have alleged Cosby had inappropriate sexual conduct with her while they were underage. However, Los Angeles prosecutors have declined to prosecute Cosby based on California’s statute of limitations. It’s likely that the other women who accuse Cosby of similar acts will face the same procedural hurdle, should they attempt to bring additional legal action.
While Cosby has not filed any defamation suits, he has filed suit against Huth, alleging that she attempted to blackmail him for $250,000 to stop the sexual assault claims against him. The fact that Cosby has not sued any of his accusers for defamation does raise the inference that there’s truth to these women’s allegations.
Alleged Victim: Tamara Green and Her Defamation Suit
Back when Constand filed her civil suit in 2005, a woman named Tamara Green was listed as one of the Jane Doe witnesses. Green, now a retired attorney, has claimed for several years that Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her back in the 70’s. As the old claims were brought up, Cosby defended himself by saying that the claims were false. Now Green has filed a defamation suit against Cosby, claiming that, through his lawyers and publicists, Cosby branded her a liar and thereby tarnished her reputation. Although the statute of limitations has run for her sexual misconduct claims against Cosby, she hopes to bypass this obstacle via a defamation suit in federal court. Because her claim against Cosby – that he tarnished her reputation by stating that she lied about the sexual abuse -will hinge on whether or not her claims are true or false, she hopes that this question of fact will be left to a jury, and that the public will finally know the truth.
An issue that may arise in Green’s defamation suit is whether she can establish that the allegedly defamatory statement sufficiently identifies her. Her lawsuit is based on recent statements Cosby’s team made, “This is a 10-year discredited accusation that proved to be nothing at the time, and is still nothing.” Technically, Green is suing on this statement, which is an innuendo, and it may be difficult for her to prove that the statement was “of and concerning” her. In order for the statement to injure her reputation, she must have been sufficiently identified in the defamatory statement. If no one knows the statement refers to her, then the statement cannot injure her reputation.